An important piece of advice agents give vendors about presenting their house for open for inspections is, remove all autobiographical and personality pieces (photographs etc) and minimise clutter.
Yet this is exactly what you hope artist David Bromley and his wife Yuge haven’t done in marketing their rambling Hepburn Springs country home near Daylesford.
You want to (respectfully) snoop through the private digs of the most eclectic and inventive artistic couple in ??? who have parlayed their taste, idiosyncratic collector impulses and boundless creativity in all zones of the fine arts into a fascinating commercial empire, Bromley & Co ??? to see if the story holds up on the domestic front?
It so does.
Every wall, surface and incidental space of the former Wyuna Guest House that rambles through big, high-ceilinged period rooms that mutate spatially in and out of each other, are so fully furnished and appointed with paintings by David and other artists, with objects both precious and utilitarian, and so much engaging detail, that it becomes a never-ending aesthetic and Bromley-style biographical adventure.
“It’s got heaps going on,” Hocking Stuart agent Nathan Skewes says. “Everywhere you look, there is another nook.”
The room tally of four to seven bedrooms ??? depending on how you configure rooms ??? also includes four or five bathrooms or bathing pavilions, an out-the-back, semi-detached manager/teenager accommodation option, an undercover barbecue room and a laundry in which the walls, cabinetry and ceilings are decorated by David Bromley.
As part of the built fabric these daubings will stay with the house when the private sale, expected to fetch $1.7 million, is concluded. Related: Bromley brings energy to cutting-edge developmentRelated: A tree change could keep property dream aliveRelated: Best places to buy affordable art
Bromley’s recognisable line-drawn nudes on gaily-patterned canvases, and his Enid Blyton-style paintings of children; his bronze or resin sculptures of giant rabbits, pigs and more gambolling children, have made him a household name and an artist n interior designers love to display in their own houses.
Bought unseen off the internet only a few years ago when the Bromleys decided they’d done their time in Byron Bay and wanted to return to the richer cultural feeding grounds in the south, their family weekender marks the first time the substantial old weatherboard in the 2200 square metre garden has been used as a private home.
It was built in the late 1880s in the heyday of Hepburn as a Victorian spa resort and was later a nursing home. Yuge Bromley says that when the couple actually got to see it in the flesh, “we loved it – we’re tinkerers and we knew we could add our touches to it”.
Without doing what most people taking possession of a period building usually do, and gutting and modernising it out of all recognition, the couple did their interior design thing, their way.
They introduced interesting colour effects (lime green kitchen benches), unexpected room connections – a main “family bedroom” that steps through a huge wood framed circle into a dressing room; quirky inventions, hanging racks made of copper plumbing pipes, and wallpaper made of blown up, black and white images of 1960s rock stars.
“We never set out to reconfigure places. David says ‘there is always a good reason why places were built the way they were’. So what we do instead,” Yuge says, “is add our touch on top of the character that’s already there.”
Having recently installed an exceptional glass mosaic wall that will stay in the outdoor bathing pavilion, the restless creatives and their two young children are selling to move into another house they own locally.
“We realised there was nothing else we could add to the house and we need to keep doing things,” Yuge says.
Mr Skewes says although the house has only come onto the market this week, there is already good interest. It’s certainly an usual proposition, even in a town increasingly popular with wealthy Melburnians taking to it as an alternative retreat destination to the Mornington Peninsula.
The agent can see huge scope for the old Bromley house as “a fantastic holiday rental for group accommodation – hen’s parties, that sort of thing”.